Leroy Sane's future at Manchester City appears to be in doubt, with the German struggling to fight his way into Pep Guardiola's squad this season.
The 22-year-old was one of City's star players last season, but has had to settle for brief substitute appearances this season. He has seen only 30 minutes of action this year, and was not even named in the matchday squad for his side's clash with Newcastle.
His absence has led to speculation that his long-term future at the Etihad stadium could be in doubt, despite Guardiola's insistence that there is no problem.
The former Barcelona and Bayern manager, as quoted by The Sun, was quick to suggest that Sane still has a big part to play this season, despite his recent omissions.
“I took the decision for the way the opponent plays and what I saw every day. That is the reason.
Of course, Leroy was so important for us and hopefully this season he will be.
"I have six strikers and sometimes I play with two, plus a winger and another on the bench. That’s what I decided on today.”
One of Sane's appearances came in the closing stages of Man City's 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend, but the German struggled to get involved after his introduction. Guardiola went on to admit that Sane's performance was disappointing, but it is not a problem for the manager.
He said: “Yes. Last week, for his few minutes, he tried.
“OK, he was not as precise but the players know me. Mistakes are part of the process, there’s no problem.”
New signing Riyad Mahrez appears to have moved ahead of Sane in Guardiola's estimations, as the Algerian has featured far more than Sane since his move from Leicester City this summer.
Mahrez started the match against Newcastle and, alongside the rest of his teammates, was made to work hard against a resolute Newcastle side. Goals from Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker secured a well-deserved 2-1 victory for the Citizens, as they got themselves back on track from their surprising slip up against Wolves last week.